Miami City Ballet at Harris on April 30 Review- Balanchine and More


Miami City Ballet’s signature seems to be energy-to-a-beat.  Musicality drives both their choice of repertoire and, more than most ballet companies, features choreography that rides with the music and its rhythms directly instead of using music more as background mood settings.   In this Harris Theater performance, Chicago Philharmonic and the great composers whose works they performed seemed their equal partners.


Fast-paced and exciting! 


This energetic Miami City Ballet performance opened with “Symphony in Three Movements”, named for Stravinsky’s impressionist capture of World War II.  Choreographed by George Balanchine, it epitomizes how Balanchine added alphabets to classical ballet with nearly every work breaking what had previously defined the ballet mold.


Watching the corps de ballet’s strong opening it felt as if they were stealing the limelight of the entire evening. This is exactly the kind of graceful jolt you’d want as an opening to any dance performance, and especially stimulating for those of us who will never ever tire of anything Balanchine.   It may date back to 1972, but this piece feels exceptionally current and fresh, and especially the angled leg leaps and distinctly Balinese feeling duet with much angled arms and legs and flexed hands.  As it concluded with the entire troupe in an expanded array creating similar lines on a larger scale to create a kaleidoscope patterned finish ,it was pure visual splendor.


Alas—no photos are available of this remarkable opening Balanchine work.



“Viscera”, choreographed by Liam Scarlett and set to “Piano concerto No. 1” by Lowell Liebermann followed and seemed almost as though it were a continuation of the conversation started by Balanchine and Stravinsky



Here though, much of the music was solo piano for a lovely pas de deux that feels so intimate, in part because of its stark contrast to the ensemble sections bathed in changing lighting envelopes on either side of it.  The womens’ costumes, also designed by the choreographer, were cut away in the back in such a way that it emphasized the torsos at work in various holds, perhaps suggesting why it’s titled this way.  


And last came Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances, Opus 45”, with choreography  by Alexei Ratmansky.   Last year, both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Grant Park Music Festival performed this work and a quick Youtube surf indicates its dramatic score is  similarly a favorite of many other leading world orchestras. 



Here is a clip to remind you how it sounds—



In this piece the costumes spoke to narratives buried within the dance that you couldn’t quite discern, giving it overall a dreamlike quality, even with its sometimes frenetic pace in keeping with the score.   (Costume Design:  Adeline Andre and Istvan Dohar.)  For example, at different times solo dancers emerge from the ensembles with what seems to be huge blood stains on their white tunics.  One dancer emerges early from a costume of medieval mail.  Later, costumes shift to elegant ballroom attire, but the men’s jackets are all adorned with oversized flowers or handkerchiefs, it was hard to tell which. 



This was a crowd pleaser, and especially the fly across the stage ending that got a good share of BRAVOS from the crowd.


Harris Theater has now announced its next season, which includes six similary world class dance  performances. For tickets or information visit the Harris Theater website  or call the box office at 312 334 7777.




Top of Page
Join Splash Magazines

Feature Article

Tempflow™ and Tempur-Pedic® Reviews - What 35 Hours of Research Uncovered

Want Your Business to Male a Splash
<!-- #wrapper -->